‘The O.C’ Cast: Where Are They Now? (Photos)

The hit Fox series set in Newport Beach, California, debuted on August 5, 2003

Photo by Frederick M. Brown (Getty Images)

Can it really be 20 years since “The O.C.” premiered on Fox? The young actors of the series, Benjamin McKenzie, Adam Brody, Mischa Barton and Rachel Bilson quickly became in-demand stars and the theme song “California” by Phantom Planet became a top ten hit in several countries while also reaching 35 on Billboard’s Alternative Airplay chart.

The bagel-centric series also introduced us to “Chrismukkah” and showcased bands from The Killers to Modest Mouse.

Several members of the cast went on to lead their own series and films and others have popped up on hit shows from “How I Met Your Mother” to “Grey’s Anatomy.” Here’s what they’ve been up to since “The O.C.” signed off in February 2007.

Benjamin McKenzie
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Benjamin McKenzie, who played O.C. newbie Ryan Atwood, went on to star as an LA cop on TNT’s “Southland” and as James Gordon on Fox’s Batman prequel series “Gotham.” He also voiced Bruce Wayne in the 2011 animated film “Batman: Year One.” In June, ABC opted not to pick up the pilot of his medical drama “The Hurt Unit.”

Mischa Barton
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Mischa Barton, who starred as Marissa Cooper, has been acting since she was a child: Who could forget her as the vomiting ghost in 1999’s “The Sixth Sense”? For her role on “The O.C,” she won two Teen Choice Awards and was dubbed the “It Girl” of 2003 by EW. Since then, she starred in the short-lived 2009 CW series “The Beautiful Life” and MTV’s “The Hills: New Beginnings” in 2019. More recently, she appeared in an extended guest role on the Australian soap “Neighbors” and in the films “Spree” and “Invitation to a Murder.”

Adam Brody
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Adam Brody played the always sarcastic, Chrismukkah-inventing fan favorite Seth Cohen. He’s since appeared in horror movies “Jennifer’s Body” and “Ready or Not” and headlined the 2020 indie mystery “The Kid Detective.” This year, he reprised his role as Freddy Freeman, the grown-up superhero version of Jack Dylan Grazer’s character, in “Shazam! Fury of the Gods.” He also played Nick on the Crackle series “StartUp” and co-starred as another guy named Seth on the FX/Hulu series “Fleischman is in Trouble.” He will star as an unconventional rabbi in an upcoming Netflix comedy series with Kristen Bell.

Rachel Bilson
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Rachel Bilson played Summer Roberts, who was on-again/off-again with Seth and married him in the series finale. (As O.C. fans know, the two dated for three years in real life as well.) Her post-“O.C.” credits include recurring roles on “How I Met Your Mother,” “Chuck” and “Nashville,” and the CW series “Hart of Dixie.” In January, she played a suspected serial poisoner on the Fox anthology drama “Accused.” She also appeared in the films “Jumper” and “The Bling Ring” and hosts the podcast “Broad Ideas.”

Peter Gallagher
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Peter Gallagher, who was already known for the films “While You Were Sleeping” and “Sex, Lies and Videotape,” starred as Seth’s lawyer dad, Sandy Cohen. It was his idea to take in the troubled Ryan (McKenzie), whom he eventually adopted. After “The O.C.,” he costarred in the USA series “Covert Affairs” and also played Nick Skolka, who was briefly married to Jane Fonda’s character, on “Grace and Frankie.” He also had a nine-episode arc on “Grey’s Anatomy” as Dr. David Hamilton.

Kelly Rowan
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Kelly Rowan played real estate developer Kristen Cohen, wife to Sandy and mother of Seth. After the show signed off, she guested on “CSI: Miami” and “Castle” and also played Natalie Vincent, an imaginary friend to main character Eric McCormack on the TNT series “Perception.” Her most recent credit is the 2016 TV movie “Tulips in Spring.”

Tate Donovan
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Tate Donovan played Jimmy Cooper, Marissa’s stockbroker father who was busted for siphoning funds from his clients. He didn’t go to jail, but went broke repaying the money he had stolen. The character became a secondary one after the first season. Donovan’s films include “Good Night, and Good Luck,” “Argo” and “Ghosted,” in which he played dad to Chris Evans. His TV acting credits include “24: Live Another Day” and “MacGyver.” He directed a 2005 episode of “The O.C.” and went on to direct episodes of “Damages,” “Gossip Girl” and “Nip/Tuck.”

Melinda Clarke
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Melinda Clarke played Julie Cooper, Marissa’s mother. She’s also had recurring roles on “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” and “The Vampire Diaries,” and most recently guested on “Fantasy Island.” She reunited with Benjamin McKenzie on “Gotham,” in which she played Penguin (Robin Lord Taylor)’s stepmother.

Samaire Armstrong
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Samaire Armstrong played Anna Stern, who also dated Seth, and appeared in 15 episodes from 2003 to 2006. After that, she played Emily on “Entourage,” Juliet Darling in “Dirty Sexy Money” and a character named Summer on “The Mentalist.” Her most recent film was the 2021 western “Terror on the Prairie.”

Chris Carmack
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Chris Carmack played Marissa’s jerky ex-boyfriend Luke Ward who punched Ryan in the face in the first episode and uttered the famous line, “Welcome to the O.C., bitch.” His character only appeared in the first two seasons. He’s played Dr. Atticus Lincoln on “Grey’s Anatomy” since 2018. Prior to that, he played Will Lexington on “Nashville.”

Logan Marshall-Green

Logan Marshall-Green played Trey Atwood, Ryan’s no-good, would-be rapist brother who ends up being shot to death by Marissa in the Season 2 finale. The character was originally played by Bradley Stryker of “Damnation” and “The 100.” Marshall-Green’s films include “Prometheus,” the 2015 horror movie “The Invitation” and 2018’s “Upgrade.” He also starred in the Cinemax series “Quarry” and played Richard Heller on ” 24″ in 2005 and Travis Stone on the second season of “Big Sky.”